The COVID-19 pandemic is a global contagion of unprecedented proportions and health, economic, and social consequences. As with many health problems, its impact is uneven. This article argues the COVID-19 pandemic is a global health injustice due to moral failures of national governments and international organizations to prepare for, prevent and control it. Global and national health communities had a moral obligation to act in accordance with the current state of knowledge of pandemic preparedness. This obligation—a positive duty to develop and implement systems to reduce threats to and safeguard individuals’ and, communities’ abilities to flourish—stems from theories of global health justice and governance. The COVID-19 pandemic revealed and amplified the fragility and deficiencies in our global and domestic health institutions and systems. Moving forward, positive public health ethics is needed to set ethical standards for building and operating robust public health systems for resilient individuals and communities.